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Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

*  70 n.Chr. in Karthago 130 n. Chr. in Rom

The Roman writer and administrator Gaius Suetonis Tranquillus, known as Suetonius, was born about 70 C.E. in Hippo Regius, a port city west of Carthage. For several generations, his family had maintained a connection to the house of the emperor and his father was a member of the equestrian order. It can be assumed that for these reasons Suetonius received an education in the liberal arts. Through familial connections, he found a position as a praetor in Rome. The influence and favor of Senator Pliny toward Suetonius helped him obtain tax privileges: he was given the privileges normally given a father of three (jus trium liberorum), freeing him from the marriage requirement; this eased his passage into a career in public office. Suetonius never married or had children. When Pliny was named governor of the province of Bythinia in Asia Minor by Emperor Trajan in 111 C.E., Suetonius was a member of the entourage that accompanied Pliny until his death. On his return to Rome, he established his career in the emperor's court without the usual necessary stops along the way. He then took over the office "a studiis." He assumed the office "ab epistulis" in 117 C.E. under Emperor Hadrian. The responsibilities of this position gave him important political and administrative influence. Answering judicial questions through the chancellory had the force of law in the Roman empire. Suetonius became caught up in court intrigues in 122 C.E., which caused him to fall from Hadrian's grace. Thereafter he devoted himself exclusively to his studies. His writings are also some of the most important sources of information on the Roman Empire. With his biographical approach, he created a lasting paradigm for all Western historians following him. Suetonius died between the years 130 and 140 C.E.